They Paroled a Serial Killer — And Then Let Him Slide

Yep, it really happened. In Pennsylvania. They paroled a violent felon — a guy who drew down on cops with a sawn-off shotgun — who immediately began violating the conditions of his parole. And they didn’t finally bring him in until after he’d blazed a trail of bloodshed.

Byron Allen was on parole. He’d been out a year, and nothing – not the troubling sexual behavior he first displayed in prison, which had caused officials to treat him as a sexual predator, nor the porn obsession and erratic behavior witnessed by parole staff shortly after his release, nor the consecutive positive results for cocaine around May and June, nor the skipped required treatments – made parole supervisors deem this man a threat.

Then he came up hot on a piss test for the same drug he was on when he attacked cops in 2002, PCP, “angel dust.”

[But] agency supervisors did what they had done for months in the face of Allen’s increasingly troubling behavior: They let him walk free. …police now say he was also on a one-man spree of murder and sexual assault.

When they turned him loose after that, he almost killed a Kensington, PA, woman. It wasn’t for lack of effort.

Philadelphia police have charged him with four sexual assaults between April and October – the last one, the 23-year-old Kensington woman, only two days after he was found with PCP in his system at the parole office in Northwest Philadelphia.

In Philadelphia, police say, he’d lure woman who worked as prostitutes, then slit their throats, beat them with bricks or choke them unconscious. In most cases, he’d sexually assault them.

Three suspected murders, four assaults.

Why didn’t his parole officer revoke him? He wanted to, but couldn’t get approval from supervisors.

…the officer could not spur his supervisors to action.

This fits with what parole agents have been telling me for a few years: In the state’s effort to decrease swelled prison populations – and reduce recidivism rates – it’s harder to lock up some people who really should be off the streets.

 The unstirrable supervisors

Leo Dunn, the chairman of the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole… couldn’t comment. Neither could the supervisors who kept Allen on the street. Dunn called the case a “tragic situation” and said that board has launched an internal investigation to “ensure no policies were violated.”

Sure, at least three women are murdered and four more raped, but it’s all okay if all the policy tick-boxes had ticks in ’em.

Some of the same people were involved in this that paroled Rafael Jones,  a name that still makes Philly blue shirts see red.

Like back in 2012, when Police Officer Moses Walker Jr. was killed by Rafael Jones, a parolee who’d been released ten days earlier. I wrote how parole officials had failed to fit Jones with an electronic monitoring device or lock him up after failing a drug test. Hearings were held, three officials were fired (one of whom now has her job back). Reforms were put in place.

One of the people that turned Jones loose to kill Walker was back on the job to let Allen loose to kill at least three.

But naturally, there’s a bleeding-heart judge at the center of it all, whose very being thrums with sympathy for murderers like Allen and Jones, and who cares about their victims … something less than any measurable amount

Former Common Pleas Court Judge Benjamin Lerner, who now serves as the city’s Deputy Managing Director for Criminal Justice, says that move toward treatment and rehab nationwide reflects recognition that for too long we have been locking up people for longer than necessary. Excessive incarceration is not only expensive, he notes. It destroys families and communities.

Yeah, unlike, say, the murders that he prefers, as a matter of public policy.

29 thoughts on “They Paroled a Serial Killer — And Then Let Him Slide

  1. Jim Scrummy

    Oh gee it’s that s-hole Filfthadelphia, again. Wonders will never cease. Wow, it’s going on 24 years since I left that “garden of paradise” of filth. But if all the boxes are checked…we’re good right in parole officersland? Sorry, but the herd needs to be thinned, and this piece of whale excrement needs to be no. 2 in PA after Wesley Cook. Unfortunately, the useless Philly DA had Cook’s sentence changed to life without parole.

  2. Cap'n Mike

    Thats one way to do it.
    If we started declaring everyone who gets shot and killed in Chicago victims of suicide or accidents, we will have the homicide rate down to zero in no time.

    1. Hognose Post author

      Hey, they ended the year with 795 homicides (counting justifieds, I think 11 by cops and 9 by citizens — CCWs or homeowners), plus 36 “death investigations.” I dunno how your agency does it but anything that’s dodgy in Chicago apparently goes in the DI bin until they can figure it out… homicide, suicide, natural causes? In a big city there’s going to be some stiffs in a gray area, plus recovered old bodies, etc.

      1. Cap'n Mike

        ” In the state’s effort to decrease swelled prison populations – and reduce recidivism rates”

        “Thats one way to do it.
        If we started declaring everyone who gets shot and killed in Chicago victims of suicide or accidents, we will have the homicide rate down to zero in no time.”

        I meant to include the above quote from the article.
        The CCWs in Chicago are posting some good numbers, considering how outnumbered they probably are by the Cops and Criminals.

  3. Tom Stone

    Jim, it’s cheaper to let that SOB rot in jail until he dies than the appeals would cost.
    By a bunch.
    And don’t forget who pays for those appeals at $600 an hour.
    As far as why these scumbags are let out on parole, it’s the system.
    It’s called the CRIMINAL justice system for a a reason.
    Bluntly, there’s a huge bureaucracy involved that is only interested in growing larger and protecting its turf.
    The concept of the “Public Good” is as alien to the institution as a fork is to a fish.
    My opinion is based on more than a decade of doing volunteer work in Jails and Prisons, not because I’m a nice guy.
    Because I made a deal with God.
    The few times a “liberal” has commented that I must have a great deal of sympathy for the poor souls who are incarcerated they have not liked my response.

      1. Scott

        Suggestion? Can you add ‘typo’ and ‘typos’ to the keyword list for moderation? That way, you see these notes and can make the edits without the retentive amongst us (I resemble that remark!) adding lint to the otherwise great comments you get so regularly?

        1. Hognose Post author

          Oh, that’s a good idea. If I get to it, I will. (My Action This Day list is rather lengthy, and some of it was Action This Day for more than a day already).

        2. John M.

          Counterpoint: I don’t make typo corrections if someone [cough-Scott] already has. If Scott’s chimed in but you haven’t gotten around to fixing them yet, I don’t want to bother.

          However, it wouldn’t bother me in the least if you started deleting my typo comments once you fixed the typos. I do it to help, not for the glory. :)

          -John M.

  4. Jason

    Parole is a giant clusterfuck in southeast Pa. There are stories upon stories of criminals with a stack of technical violations, absconding, and re-offending that are still free.

    Best part is, the parole agent in charge of the offender gets dinged by the supervisors if the criminal re-offends or violates the terms because “they obviously aren’t offering enough in the way of help”.

    He’ll, I’ve seen family of violent offenders who were caught with several guns and drugs blame the Parole Agent and threaten his life because Pookie is now on a 10 year bid for criminal activity (that he just took a plea for to avoid federal charges.)

    There is a lot of rot in that system.

  5. Billybob

    Wow. I have been out of the system for 8 years and almost forgot how bad Ca. Parole system was. You just reminded me how good it is to be retired.

    1. Hognose Post author

      It’s like the child welfare system. Everybody thinks their own state’s is the only one that’s hosed. My impression is that it’s kind of poor for most persons in its grasp, but it’s really rotten in a few spectacular cases.

      We have fairly good government here in NH, regardless of which party is in, but our government can’t fix child welfare or ex-con management any better than great big states like CA or NY. And conservative states like AZ, OK, TX have all the same problems.

      Ultimately, my answer is 10-20-Life for felony convictions. Yes, you lose the chance to reintegrate that percentage of offenders who do reintegrate, and you lose the benefit that their good citizenship might (belatedly) bring to society as a whole, but you don’t have the wave of preventable murders, rapes, assaults, and robberies.

      1. Kirk

        10-20-Life? Why the f**k should the taxpayer be on the hook for supporting these lowlives for the rest of their lives?

        I’ve got a simpler solution: Violent felony? You’re an automatic organ donor, and we’re starting with your limbs. Kinda hard to be an effective criminal if you’re minus your arms and legs, although I suspect you might be able to still bite someone effectively.

        You’d be surprised how law-abiding most paraplegics are; it is very hard to effectively wield a weapon or threaten anyone, when you have to ask someone else to wipe your ass after using the toilet. Wonderful tool for teaching manners. And, the first thing that ought to be done? Spay and neuter, so that you can’t pass on the dysfunctional genes again. Hell, I’d be up for doing the same for entire bloodlines, when the crimes are sufficiently bad. First candidates would be the crew that murdered that couple down in Tennessee ten years ago–I’d suggest taking them all out of the gene pool, root and branch. You want to stand up in court and claim your lil’ babby din du ’nuffin, and that the white man is keeping him down? Fine; stand with them in court, and suffer the punishment with them. Accountability, folks: It’s a concept we need to bring back.

        Most of these “people” are irredeemable; any attempt at reform is pointless, like trying to cure a rabid animal. Evince the behavior, and you ought to be an automatic cull.

        1. 11B-Mailclerk

          I have heard of previous efforts to dis-arm criminals, but you, sir, have a classic approach to it.

    1. Hognose Post author

      I approved your comment for one reason: to edit it with the strikeouts you see now, and to use it as a training aid to make crystal clear that I do not tolerate antisemitism on this blog. And yes, snide comments about putatively-Jewish names, made by enclosing them in parentheses, rings up anti-semitic on our register. Please don’t do it again.

      The problem with Judge Lerner or any other judge is the bleeding-heart convict-coddling, not what Sabbath he keeps or holidays he observes. Let us criticize the conduct, not the character, except in those cases where it’s merited.

      Ask Haxo Angmark why some of his comments come through and some don’t. He knows.

      In any event, as a new commenter, you may have been unaware of this policy. You have now been made aware. Tighten up your shot group, please.

  6. Alan Ward

    Yep, the parole officer is to blame because he didn’t offer enough help to the poor lil Didndunuffin to avoid him/he/xis reoffending or just following the baser instincts present in overwhelming proportion in its life.

  7. John M.

    I heard this on This American Life a few weeks ago:

    It’s about a Pennsylvania parolee going on a raping, murdering crime spree ~20 years ago, and the changes to the system that were wrought in the aftermath of same. It’s narrated by a liberal who was mugged but stayed a liberal. (I’m not sure what the term for that is. “Stupid” was all that came to mind while I was listening.)

    I thought a lot about this blog, listening to that show. Just try to laugh instead of cry.

    -John M.

    1. Kirk

      If the average person actually paid attention to the results of the bleeding heart parole systems we have going in most of our states, they’d be down at the courthouse with nooses, waiting for the various judges and parole board officials to come out.

      The number of “one-time” criminals is vanishingly small; most are what they are after a fairly lengthy period of getting away with things, ratcheting up the severity of their criminal behavior until they finally get caught. Then, once caught, the system does very little to actually “reform” them. They go on to bigger and better crimes, and usually just escalate their behaviors. You can point to case after case after case, and the irony is that the reason this happens is because the people administering these agencies never have to live with the results–Those two freaks that were killing girls while wearing their GPS anklets, in California? You better believe that if they were targeting the wives and daughters of the elite, vs. the lower class girls reduced to prostitution, they’d be dealt with permanently. Me, I think we ought to be paroling these assholes into the homes of the parole board members; you’re so damn sure he’s safe to let out? Fine, you live with him. Let your teenage daughter be the one in immediate proximity; see how liberal your beliefs actually are, as opposed to letting these creatures out to prey on those lower in the economic food chain.

      Someone made an interesting point, not so long ago: In the 1930s, the St. Valentine’s Day massacre, where seven gangsters got killed by some other gangsters, that made the entire country sit up and take notice: It was a major scandal, and played a lot into the eventual end of Prohibition. Nowadays, we see a thousand people, most of whom may indeed be criminals as well, killed in the course of a year in Chicago, and nobody really even bats an eye. What changed? Criminality and murders like we see now were never a part of routine American life, until the unhinged liberals took control of the courts and justice system. Now, we take this kind of thing for routine, and accept it. What goes on in Chicago today has literally no precedent in US history, in terms of the sheer volume of the violence and murder. Why is it tolerable?

      1. John M.

        But we should definitely all support “bipartisan criminal justice reform” because reasons.

        Great Caesar’s ghost, crime in this country dropped like a stone after 1991. Is it just possible–just possible–that some of the anti-crime measures that we passed in the late ’80s and early ’90s–like the measures lamented in the This American Life story–had something to do with it? And that repealing those measures might lead to higher crime rates?

        -John M.

        1. Kirk

          The amazing thing to me is how a lot of these bleeding-heart types are so concerned about the welfare of the actual criminal, and utterly oblivious to the victims and their families. They seem to identify with the criminal first, and the victims not at all…

          Which is why I’ve come to the conclusion that many of these “people” are likely congenital criminals themselves, and see themselves in the criminal they’re advocating for. You hear someone advocate for “mercy” for the criminal, you might want to ask yourself just who it is you are listening to, and look into their background; like as not, you’re gonna find some interesting things.

          Few years back, there was a local preacher of one of those evangelical bible-thumping outfits; one of his flock came up on the law enforcement radar for defrauding his elderly and disabled clients. Preacher came out and advocated for leniency, and offered to testify as to his character at trial. Which he did.

          Time passed, and the church went spectacularly bankrupt, and our hero, the preacher, was no where to be found. Well, he was, really, but not in a country with a valid extradition agreement with the US… As I remember, he washed up in Belize with a healthy fraction of his flock’s savings.

          Always remember that projection can be a huge motivator for human behavior. Huge.

          1. 11B-Mailclerk

            If one’s political belief system declares the root of all Evil to be America and all things American, then the average thug-life criminals are co-belligerents in the culture war, to be protected and developed as assets.

          2. John M.

            “The amazing thing to me is how a lot of these bleeding-heart types are so concerned about the welfare of the actual criminal, and utterly oblivious to the victims and their families.”

            You really should listen to that This American Life show. Spoiler alert: The daughter of a woman whose mother was brutally raped 20-25 years ago spends an hour wringing her hands about the fate of all the poor, poor, life-sentenced criminals who now almost never get parole in Pennsylvania, the state where her mother’s brutal rapist was paroled off a life sentence prior to brutally raping her.

            -John M.

          3. Kirk

            @ John M,

            Yeah, that’s the kind of thing that’s left me tuning out of anything that NPR has to say, any more.

            The logic path that a lot of these people follow to get to where they are, defending the indefensible, just leaves me completely unable to even process what they are saying. Your example is just one case, and I know of a bunch of others, some personally. An acquaintance of mine from a long time ago was a party to a case of sexual abuse and murder, and she later went on to testify in favor of the perpetrator at one of his parole hearings. What struck me was the near-hypnotic effect this guy had on her, years after she’d last seen him–It is almost akin to that thing a lot of predators can do in the animal world, where they somehow stupify and dominate their prey into cooperation with them. And, no matter what you do, you can’t break the spell with logic, or anything else.

            I really regret saying this, and I hate that I’ve come to think this way, but I am now slowly coming to the sad conclusion that there are a bunch of people who are just natural prey for criminals, and are damn near witting co-conspirators in what happens to them. I used to think some of these people could be saved, but you can’t drag someone who wants to drown out of the water, except at high risk to yourself.

            And, to a degree, living among these people is like living with neighbors who insist on feeding the local bears and cougars; they create an attractive nuisance that could well get innocent bystanders killed just as easily.

    2. Cap'n Mike

      This American Life
      Professional Criminal coddlers.
      Thats the same bunch that did the “Serial” podcast about Adnan Masud Syed who murdered his teenage girlfriend in 1999. They stired up enough crap to get that assclown a new trial.

      Season 2 was the tongue bath of Bowe Bergdahl.

      Im begining to think the best argument for the death penalty for these stains is so the lawyers will spend there efforts trying to keep them alive instead of getting them to go free.

      1. John M.

        Yeah. I can chuckle over their short-sightedness for 60 minutes, but I wasn’t going to put up with an entire season’s worth of that nonsense.

        -John M.

  8. Loren

    ” coming to the sad conclusion that there are a bunch of people who are just natural prey for criminals, and are damn near witting co-conspirators in what happens to them.”
    My psycho therapist GF works with adult victims of institutional abuse, some of which are abusers themselves. She lives in a constant state of fear that she may become a crime victim herself, yet has infinite sympathy for the “less fortunate in life”. She feels it was just the luck of the draw that her upbringing led to a good life.
    I of course feel a load of 12 ga to the belly would cure a lot of social ills and that my good life is the result of generations of hard working and responsible ancestors, as well as my hard work.
    The point being that no amount of intelligence or experience will change attitudes. You feel what you feel and it’s up to the strong to dominate the weak and impose their will upon them.

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